Hi! Last week I made a quick Facebook post before I ran out to dinner with my family. It was just a few sentences. But WOW it got a lot of comments. Some good, some bad. One comment was bat-shit crazy. Warning! This blog about something that is not very important is way too long. Read at your own risk!
Here was my post on Facebook:
“My opinion: This new Facebook live video thing is cool. But not everyone wants to be recorded and have that video made public. My advice: If you are out and about, enjoying some live local music, please consider asking the artist if they would mind you recording and posting. Thank you so much!”
- I clearly didn’t tell the whole story in my post, so there was def room for interpretation. I should have known better.
- Some people asked questions, so that they could understand what I was saying, and where I was coming from. Some said “wow I hadn’t thought about it that way!”
- Some people immediately agreed (including some other local musician peeps).
- Others talked about people’s rights to film or post, or said that I was wrong.
I started to reply to people’s comments, but I work during the day and have evening obligations pretty much every night. I didn’t have time to reply to everyone. And the comments kept coming. So I figured I would start over and reply with a blog that includes the whole story. I certainly don’t want people getting the wrong idea! So that’s what this blog is.
Some thoughts on the whole story:
-I am used to having cameras in my face. No biggie. I realize if I were fancier and famous, I could be strict and say “no photography allowed!” But I’m not that fancy. And! That rule is harder to enforce these days cuz everyone has a smartphone. Sometimes I’m SO thankful for someone capturing a moment that worked out really well. The first time I sang the national anthem was July 1 at Cat’s Eye in Baltimore. The place was packed and the whole bar sang along and cheered; it was a beautiful, unifying moment. I was SO happy that people caught it on video.
-But. Picture being at work. Some days, you ROCK it at your job. You know those days! But you also know the other ones. The days you are not your best. Same goes with me. I would love for the option of NOT documenting these less-than-perfect days. Sometimes I have a sore throat but show up to a 3-hour gig anyway, and pray that I get through it. Sometimes I forget the words (usually happens when I’m nervous, or when we haven’t played a song in a while. Or…tequila.) Sometimes I sing one song with another random band but can’t hear myself at all. Not even a little. And because of that, I’m off key. Sometimes we play a festival that has 10-minute changeovers between bands, and there’s no time to get our sound right. Sometimes it’s 95 degrees out and I look disgusting. Sometimes equipment malfunctions. Sometimes the person filming stands right in front of the speaker, and it causes the sound to distort. Sometimes I have kale in my teeth (I drink a lot of smoothies). So basically, these are many reasons why artists don’t always want to be documented. It’s hard to make a video look great. It’s an art form!
-Having people take photos and videos of us is one thing. I don’t mind it. But what are they doing with those videos? Just keeping them for memories and maybe sharing with a friend? Maybe they’ll post to their 200 Facebook friends. Or maybe they record a whole song and upload it to Youtube for the whole world to see. Or maybe you’re taking a 30-second clip and sharing it on Instagram. These are all completely different. Please! Please do send photos to your friend, or post for your loved ones to see. If the video makes us look and sound great, post for the whole world to see! But if you want to record a whole song and upload it as a video on Youtube, please take a step back and think “If I were browsing around on Youtube, and I had never heard of Sweet Leda and came across this video, what would I think of this band?” Does the video make us look good? Sound good? THIS right here is the main reason why sometimes, I just don’t want to be documented. Remember how back in the day, signs were posted at shows that said “No video or photography, please.” There was a reason for that! They weren’t just doing it to be jerks. We could have 10 great videos but someone could post the 11th one which happens to be bad and could say “hey look, this band sucks.”
OMG why is this stupid blog so long??!
-Then there’s the argument of “But people have smartphones, and smartphones can take video, therefore people are gonna continue to film artists.” Well, sure. At big shows! But I’m talking about local music. Imagine you are playing for 30 people on a Wednesday night. You are just getting over a cold and you say “hey would you mind not filming me today? I’m not at my best.” And imagine someone saying “sorry buddy, you can’t make me stop recording you.” Umm. WHAT? No…any decent person would say “no problem dude, I understand!” If I take a photo of my friend, I often ask “hey can I post this?” I don’t just go posting it cuz I can.
-The Facebook live video thing. It records video and posts instantly to your FB page, without letting you review it first. This is tricky. Since you can’t review it before posting, you can’t look back on it and ask yourself “does this video make the band look really good? Or amateur?” Something to think about. I know it’s a fun app to use, but it’s not always best if your goal is to say “hey everyone, look at this great band!”
- In general, I really don’t mind people posting photos and videos. In fact, we want you to say nice things online, and spread the word! But if we look bad…then I wish those videos were not posted. I’ve actually had several people say “Wow you guys are great live! But I wasn’t sure what to expect, cuz I saw some videos on Youtube, and they didn’t sound very good.” (People say weird things to us. ALL the time. Don’t get me started.) I’ve seen a lot of people post quick snippets of partial songs. That’s totally ok! Especially if we’re on a nice big stage and my dress is awesome and it is NOT 95 degrees outside and the crowd is into it. We’ve also had some people post full songs that (thank GOODNESS) sounded and looked great. But we’ve also had people post videos on Youtube that were NOT good. Maybe I was off key. Or maybe the room wasn’t crowded yet and the video makes it look like there’s nobody there.
- I have been to a doctor’s office before. Many times. But I have no idea what it’s like to be a doctor. I understand that most of my Facebook friends are not in bands. So I might have a different perspective to share. I’ve had some people say to me “Hey, I recorded a few songs from your set today. I’ll put them on Youtube for you!” This tells me right here that some people think bands want people to post lots of amateur videos on Youtube. This is not usually the case! (I found out my feelings were shared by several local artists, which is one of my reasons for making the post in the first place.) So I realized “well, shit. Maybe I should say something.”
- So maybe you had never thought about it this way. My dear friend Michelle actually texted me that day and said “OMG Julie, I take videos of bands all the time! I try to show people how much fun we’re having, and I try to get them to come out to a show. I went back and watched some of those videos I took. They were awful! Being in the moment, the band sounded great. But now I see that the video is boring, it doesn’t move around, and it doesn’t look as crowded. I actually went back and deleted some vids that I posted. Thank you for making that post! I didn’t even realize.” I had some people tell me that people are just gonna do what they’re gonna do. But I think Michelle proves that wrong. People care! Ever take a photo of your mom and she said “noooooo I look awful, don’t post it!” You could be a brat and still post. Or you could be nice and respect her wishes. Don’t piss off your mom! I REPEAT. Don’t piss off your mom! It will not end well.
- Communication on social media is weird. Short posts are often the norm, and don’t tell the whole story. They lack tone. There is much room for interpretation. You could immediately make an opposing comment. Or you can say “tell me more about your feelings on this. What are your experiences? Mine are different; I’ll share mine and you share yours.” Because social media is so weird, so many conversations turn into fights. And most fights seem to end up being about guns or spelling/grammar.
- This blog is way too long. Who the hell cares about this crap?!
- This video issue is NOT a big one. Just something that came across my mind, and thought I would bring up. But the bigger issue is very, very important to me: People are debating really big issues on Facebook right now, which is great. But. There’s a lot of commenting and opinion-sharing happening, without listening. We gotta care more about the issue at hand and all its aspects, not just about being right. Whether the issue is big or small, we will never get better at understanding each other if we form quick strong opinions without listening.
Instead of choosing sides right away, the only way we are truly going to understand the FULL situation is if we ask questions. But first?
We have to care.
We have to care.
We have to care.
About everyone. Not just about people exactly like us. So I think whether the issue is big, little, or in the middle, ask a question before you comment. Learn something new! The more we listen, the more likely others will listen to us.
THANK YOU for reading! I love you and pray for your safety, happiness, and health!